Manjaro Misconceptions XFCE Lightweight?

Being new to Arch, Manjaro and XFCE coming from a GNU-Linux ubuntu based distro I am bemused by the linking of XFCE with Lightweight especially with latest version.

Other Manjaro XFCE users seem to believe that 650+MiB RAM at idle is light?

Similarly the distro; Linux Lite which uses XFCE confirms this figure.

With the addition of conky rising to 833MiB RAM used as shown on Manjaro reddit.

I have got used to this high RAM usage and as I have a Dell Latitude i7 with 8GiB RAM this is not a problem yet.

It would appear that XFCE continues to bloat whereas KDE has slimmed down such that any research shows around the same figure at a minimum – perhaps with some primary features disabled – rising to over 1GiB. In conclusion no main flavour of Manjaro can be classed as light IMHO.

As you can see from the screenshot this true lightweight uses just 112MiB RAM at idle whereas its big brother with MATE desktop uses only 340MiB.

So looking at RAM usage from both standpoints Manjaro uses double the resource of the MATE desktop distro – or - MATE desktop distro uses half the resource of Manjaro at idle. Of course this disparity continues into real usage up to swap and beyond. For confirmation of 340MiB figure go to DistroWatch…

Please do not be disappointed – The reason I wiped previous T-mini LXDE distro is that I do not like the direction ubuntu – debian based distros are heading so need to investigate alternatives. The T-mini LXDE is not an empty headless distro as some have suggested. Out of the box it has of course a proper desktop with many themes, a web browser, email, pro writer AbiWord, picture editor etc. Juiced up with full suite of LibreOffice and many extras such as Pitivi movie editor the used RAM rises to approx 260MiB.

Using Manjaro XFCE to enter the world of Arch made the switch so simple. Even having Arch DVD did not instill any confidence at all – reading reports it seemed no place for your average Linux user to dabble – so thank you Manjaro team.

Please note that all distros are “straight out of the box” – as supplied without modification to give a fair comparison of what the devs intended.

But is any of this really an issue?

XFCE was/is a ‘lightweight’ desktop mainly by virtue of the past.
These days its gotten heavier, while the ‘big ones’ have gotten ‘lighter’.
Sure … but that has to do with DE development itself … as well as configuration.
(as you note above … you add conky and its heavier … though your difference seems to indicate some sort of misconfiguration … conky shouldnt take much more than a few megs maybe … which is again, indicative though of the impact that your own configurations can make)

That all said … aside from things that are really unnecessary, like weather widgets (again user choice) … we do all roughly end up at the same point plus or minus a little. My KDE is somewhere in the 400mb range. XFCE can be as well. Certainly Openbox and other WMs too. But we could also add enough to openbox to make it 600mb+.

And still … in the end … what is a few hundred mb one way or another?
Is it actually even wasted, or is it cached?
Open up chrome with 1 or 2 tabs and it immediately eclipses your entire desktop with its resource usage.
Honestly chasing the lowest possible RAM use on a desktop is itself largely a relic of the past (and windoze), unless you have specific hardware or other situational constraints.


Manjaro Mate is quite great. It uses about 450 Mb RAM on my VM. But if you looking the lightest one possible, there is LXDE spin too.

As for XFCE I agree, its on the level of GNOME and KDE nowadays.

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Hey Mods, Thanks for not deleting or hiding this post as you did with my others.

Let us be clear it is not my configuration; it is that of the reddit poster. My configuration is out of the box – unaltered.

Well yes! It obviously depends on how much RAM you have for a start.

Then there is the advertising on our Manjaro download page…

Quote:- Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and low on system resources….!

It should be clear to all that 112MiB used resource is obviously lower than Manjaro Xfce 650+MiB RAM. IMHO only one is clearly lightweight.

Juiced up way beyond Manjaro XFCE with LXDE desktop, video editing app and just about anything of any use – even games like MARS shooter it still only rises to 260 MiB. I tried to break it or at least upset it – make it unstable – but failed.

Trisquel MATE does not advertise any weight classification yet with voice-video conferencing and even bitcoin wallet included out of the box; is lighter than Manjaro XFCE.

Understandably all moderators at all distro forums and those in charge at general FOSS forums find Trisquel’s efficiency with resource in comparison somewhat embarrassing. They all roll out the same mantra and in desperation come up with some headless configuration with the desktop – XFCE in this case – removed. Decidedly off-topic…!

Then we get……

Wow - a world record – never seen before on the web. Far out; what did you disable or remove to get to that figure…?

I repeat both versions of Trisquel are out of the box official main distros – unaltered in any way.

BTW are you seriously suggesting that this linux-ate-my-RAM guy is a professional and an authority on RAM….

…… surely not…? IMHO a complete amateur not in touch at all in certain areas.

Think I had better write a topic on RAM in that case.

Hi @Andy1 ,
I wonder whether you could see the output on my XFCE4 desktop, at 568Mb running only htop in a terminal.
Be aware that you must compare the same hardware, kernel and desktop environment, although you may be surprised by the relative numbers.

My XFCE4 desktop

The hardware I am using is slightly different from yours.

OS: Manjaro 21.2.0 Qonos
 Kernel: x86_64 Linux 5.14.18-1-MANJARO
 Uptime: 1h 17m
 Packages: 1204
 Shell: bash
 Resolution: 1920x1080
 DE: Xfce4
 WM: Xfwm4
 WM Theme: inspired
 GTK Theme: inspired [GTK2]
 Icon Theme: Surfn-Papirus-Casablanca
 Font: Noto Sans 12
 Disk: 26G / 217G (13%)
 CPU: Intel Celeron N3350 @ 2x 2.4GHz [54.0°C]
 GPU: Mesa Intel(R) HD Graphics 500 (APL 2)
 RAM: 1972MiB / 3761MiB

I have four firefox windows opened at the time and I am happy enough.

Hope this help,


Hi Javier, Thank you for your reply – though I am confused.

I can’t get down to to your figure.

Which statement is correct…???

Perhaps you can duplicate my picture which shows more evidence.

You can see that it is not connected to internet.

You can see only Htop is open.

You can see that “mem” function is checked listing RAM hungry items in order.

Thanks again…

Hi @Andy1 ,
The first statement is a picture of Manjaro XFCE installed on my laptop, I can saw that yours is a live session, without Manjaro installed on your laptop.

The second statement is the exit of the terminal command screenfetch -n after the first one, with Manjaro XFCE where I have four Firefox windows opened. Two different moments in time.

I could not reproduce your output because you are on a live session.

I suggest you to install Manjaro XFCE on your laptop and you will notice the difference. Maybe, it is normal to found a higher RAM consumption because you are on a live session. I also happened to me, maybe that could help you.


Hi Javier,

Yes just dropped Manjaro 20.2 demo onto old CAD Tower to experiment.
I wiped Trisquel-mini from my Dell i7 and installed Manjaro on 1st of November.
Now fully updated.
Here is the screenshot that you asked for that you should be able to duplicate.
Screenshot taken a few minutes after reboot.
I shrank the window Ctrl+ - to fit more in…

…again - no internet - just HTop
Way more resource used than T-mimi and much more than @cscs 400MiB for a heavily disabled KDE.
Have you ever seen KDE Plasma quote 400MiB RAM used at idle anywhere…?

This memory usage discussion is absolutely useless as Manjaro is about a functional system - not about how-low-can-you-go memory usage as if it were a competition.

Different systems and different use cases - different set of packages and services enabled/running.

And please refrain from the excessive usage of screenshots - it puts an unreasonable pressure on the forum server/service - and images are not indexable - and therefore mostly useless - if you must use a screenshot - please use an image hosting service.


I think DE’s ram management is dependent on the available RAM. For ex. KDE on my laptop with 8 gigs of ramuses about 900M of RAM on startup, whereas GNOME on my old desktop with 4gb ram uses about 700-800M. Now there’s no way in hell a gnome environment uses less ram than KDE on the same hardware. Thus I’d say XFCE’s ram use on a low end device should be checked on a low end device.